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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  February 4, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm EST

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>> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? to you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> mubarak it is a terrorist. >> this week on "inside washington," the upheaval in egypt. what is the appropriate american
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response? >> it is not the role of any other country to determine egypt's leaders. only the egyptian people can do that. >> a federal judge struck down the health care reform law as unconstitutional. >> we know we need health care reform. this is not the way to do it. >> an attempt to kill it in the senate fails. >> we would repeal it right now. >> the rumsfeld memoir. and the wicked winter of 2011. is anybody talking climate change? >> i have not seen it this bad since the 1960's. captioned by the national captioning institute >> it started peacefully with the tens of thousands of egyptians taking to the streets of cairo and elsewhere in egypt calling for regime change.
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mubarak and his repressive regime, they say, must go. for a few days, demonstrations were made mostly peaceful, and then -- who were these people? witnesses like "the new york times'" nicholas kristof in cairo said they were pro- government thugs. after talking with president mubarak earlier this week, president obama said this. >> an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of egyptian of voices and opposition parties. it should lead to elections that are free and fair. >> free and fair elections. what are the odds of that happening, charles? >> i think rather good, as long as the army still intact, as long as they're not dragged into
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one side of the other, it remains a guarantor of the state, an -- market will be gone sooner or later, but it is the one institution that -- mubarak will be gone sooner or later, but it is the one institution that could midwife a transition to elections, parliamentary and presidential. >> mark? >> surveys show that the one institution that is trusted and respected by americans is the military, and that it could be the savior in egypt as well as the hope, perhaps the best hope. democracy is unpredictable. we know that. mark these are wonderfully predictable. -- monarchies are one of with the predictable. we do hope more than we expect. >> nina? >> i am probably but during this quotation from tocqueville --
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"the dangerous period in a new reform movement is the early period, where there is some success but total uncertainty." in a situation like this, where it looks -- it was everybody's idea of what a peaceful movement should be, and then in moments everybody is reduced to pretty carnal battles, you have an idea of how fast it can deteriorate. >> and then on friday and went back to peaceful demonstration, by and large. evan? >> you can pick and choose your history. you can look at the french revolution and the guillotine, or more peaceful revolutions. which is this going to be? i hope the army to control, but egypt is not have a great history here. they have an awful lot of thugs, no democratic tradition. >> admiral mike mullen has been in touch with the egyptian military and they have assured him that they will not fire on their own people.
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>> i think the army understand that if it did, it would lose its status as the one institution that is universally respected. the army has the prestige of having led the revolution against the monarchy in 1952, and success in the october war in 1973 and the restoration of egyptian pride. it carries the hopes and the respect of the country. the problem is this -- the most organized political institution in the country, partly as a result of the mubarak repression, is the muslim brotherhood. they are not democrats, i can assure you of that. hamas, for example, is the palestinian wing. the problem is unless there is a transition that allows the democrats, who are disorganized and disunited, to coalesce and organize and prepare for elections, the brotherhood winds. and then you get what you have in iran. >> president mubarak told
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christiane amanpour of abc news that if he resigns now, there will be chaos, and he is afraid that the muslim brotherhood will take over. >> before you get to the muslim brotherhood, which i agree is not a good outcome, there is a chance that the thugs are going to win. the army says there on top of their american-pay-for tanks. meanwhile, these guys ought forces sweep through the streets. as the economy continues to deteriorate. it is possible that thugswill b eat up on protesters and go back to some uneasy peace. >> why are they in the streets? >> it is paying the price for having won the best education system -- having one of the best education systems in the area, college graduates, and no employment. i would just like to say something to king farouk --
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[laughter] a much-maligned figure, somebody history will be kinder to. no, there is not a great tradition of democracy. we do have examples, the philippines, portugal and spain, where the worst was predicted after autocracies. they are not a tyrant or dictator if they are on our side, they are an autocrat. autocratic regimes were supplanted and succeeded by democracy. >> how is the obama administration doing on this? are they staying on the side, working in the back -- >> i think they are doing it the right way. they were criticized at first for being slow to get with the program and all that. we cannot make this happen, we cannot even lead the way here. it is better to be a step behind. we can gently nudge in support, but this has to be an egyptian thing. the more we try, the more it
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will backfire against us. >> the reason to think this is a hopeful moment -- generally revolution's end badly, but this one does not have to bear it if it succeeds in egypt, it will create a revolution in the middle east. why is it that east asia, east europe, latin america have all democratized over last 30 years and not the arab world? it was an axiom in the west -- the arabs are different, exceptional, there is no way he could never have democracy. iraq is the counter example, except you have to have the american military pay a high price to impose the markets, which actually exists in iraq. it is one example, lebanon is another. egypt succeeds, you could have a wave of democracy across the middle east. >> we have been assuring the action of their bark with $1.5 billion annually -- a fraction of mubarak with $1.5 billion annually.
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only 17% of the egyptians had a terrible in view of the united states. if mubarak goes, you have to keep those -- only 70% of the egyptians had a favorable view of the united state -- 17% of the egyptians have a favorable view of the united states. if mubarak goes, you have to keep those numbers in mind. >> it is not like the streets of warsaw and prague where there were quoting lincoln and jefferson and, yes, ronald reagan. >> there is of you and fomented by the egyptian government that is anti-semitic, xenophobic, and it is playing out -- >> and any time anybody push to mark to be more democratic, he would say, oh, the tourists will take over if i am not here -- terrorists will take over if i'm not here. >> in egypt has historically been a bellwether of the middle
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east. when the officers were called out in the early 1950's and the military overthrew the monarchy, it spread all through the middle east, and you had a generation of the military in charge. hear u.s. uprisings -- it started in tunisia, but it is now in algeria and yemen and jordan did there might even be demonstrations in syria, of all places, which is a hermetically sealed police state. there is a way happening here. it is generational, and it is also technological. 60% of egyptians is under the age of 30. the arab population is the youngest on the planet. after that, internet and communication allows you to escape state control and communication, and you have what you have now, a regional, widespread revolt. >> my guess is it will be bumpy
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and will not be the same results everywhere. but for israel, it has huge ramifications as well. the israelis are totally terrified, with some good reason, because they want to be defending of france. it is like having revolutions in mexico and canada. >> i think about our economic or cover, which seems to be on track -- economic recovery, which seems to be on track. what happens if the suez -- >> oil prices are already over $100 per it worry about the suez canal, -- over $100. worry about this was canal. also, if you are an oil trader, were about this spreading throughout the gulf. if it's by tomorrow, anywhere in the gulf -- a bit spread tomorrow, anywhere in the gulf. >> let's be blunt about it, the
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united states aid to egypt has had a price, that the united states has total and immediate access to the suez canal, able to land planes and egypt, and the united states can count on egypt to recognize israel and to preserve it is a real's border -- to preserve israel's border. it is highly unlikely that an administration is going to win a democratic campaign in egypt at this point at a time of enormous unrest, with xenophobia on least come up by saying that what we really need are closer relations with the united states and israel. >> and it is pretty automatic under the peace accord with israel. yes, we could withdraw, but it is not a simple solution, nor is it very smart according to our military people. >> the survey does not reflect
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favorably on the egyptian feelings about israel, either. >> unbelievable paranoid conspiracy theories. charles has a funny one. >> a month ago there were shark attacks in the red sea, and the egyptian press actually with a straight face published that it was the mossad that placed at the sharks to terrorize egyptians. you are dealing with a culture that is susceptible to pretty it wild -- >> the egyptian press is totally controlled. -- totally controlled by mubarak. >> this was pointed out by a professor this week -- "military to military, intelligence to intelligence, not people the people." >> the intelligence services keep order in these countries, the secret police, but they are also the people who give us
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intelligence about the terrorists. horrible as it sounds, we need intelligence services to help keep a lid on al qaeda. >> if federal judge in florida says the new health-care law is unconstitutional. >> this is not the first major law that has been challenged in the courts, even successfully, as to its constitutionality. let me mention a two or three others. the social security act, the civil rights act of 1964, the federal minimum wage law. >> that is centered dick durbin on the constitutionality of the new health-care law. a federal judge in florida at this week said that the law is unconstitutional. republican senators failed to bring a vote on the health care law to the senate floor this week. which way are the supremes going to go on this one, nina? >> i am not going to begin to guess that. but it is unlikely that they will free it up. next year sometime perhaps it
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will get to the court. but this is a very complicated bill, and they will want the lower courts -- justice ginsburg said this thursday night at a forum in washington -- they will what the lower courts, they want the best minds in the country to weigh in on this, and there will be different decisions. >> the attorney general of virginia wants it to go directly to the supreme court. >> he can ask, that does not mean he will get. >> it is a flawed bill. it has a fundamental flaw in it, which is that it does not deal with the underlying problem of the health-care system, because congress ducked the issue -- >> the question is, is it unconstitutional? demanding that people buy health insurance. >> i am not a lawyer and i will not play one on television. it is not asking people to be white a ford automobile or a sony television, demanding that
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they do it --buy a ford automobile or a sony television, demanding that it would the judge acknowledged that the law depends on the mandate, that without it, it would not work. it is saying that you buy because it is in the public good. that is the purpose of it. >> that does not answer the constitutional issue. of course it is in the public good, or it would not have been attempted in the first place. but the constitution says there are some things in the public good that the congress cannot do because we have limited government and ours are restricted. the question is, is this over the line? the view i have is that the commerce clause has been expended for over 80 years, and there's a sense in the country, interestingly over the last two years as a push back against obama and the liberal agenda, which says that it is not only that the law is inefficient or that it is going to bankrupt us, but that there is something wrong with expanding the power
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of the federal government to compel you to enter a contract with a private entity, i.e. an insurance company, and if you allow this, there are no limits whatsoever on what the congress to order an individual to do. >> is there i had on which way this will go? -- a hint on which way this will go? >> i think this quotation summarizes it all -- charles fried, a solicitor general during their reagan administration, said, "i talked to the violence against women act as the -- i attacked the violence against women act as a violation of the constitution, because as odious as it is to slap a woman, it did not end of regulation of the economy. but regulating insurance does end of the national economy and is the kind of thing that the commerce -- does involve the national economy and is the kind of thing that the commerce clause contemplated."
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>> here is what i learned in a law school, the supreme court follows election returns. they couch it in a high constitutional principle, it will be on the realities of how is working or not working. if enough justices perceive is not going to work, double inclined them to reach this high constitutional principle and i throw it out. >> finley peter dunne said that in 1896. i say it is going to come down to one individual in this country, the justice anthony kennedy. >> he is our mubarak. >> he is. >> he decides everything. >> tony kennedy -- thank you, ronald reagan. >> donald rumsfeld's memoirs. former defense secretary donald rumsfeld has written a memoir entitled "known and unknown."
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regrets, he sat a few. "we know where they are" with regard to weapons of mass destruction in iraq -- they never turned up. when it comes to the war in iraq, he has no real regrets. he says that saddam hussein remained in power, the middle east would be far more perilous than it is today. >> is the defense of the book. what else would we expect donald rumsfeld to write? i think he scores some points blaming other people. when things went wrong, he bears some blame, but he is actually right that the whole process broke down, that condoleezza rice did not do a good job, that colin powell was not as assertive as he might have been. >> how can you blame colin powell for not being assertive enough when you just kicked him in the proverbial groin? >> did he go before the united nations and hold up that old thing? it >> i am a big fan of colin
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powell but i think historians will look back and see a period where they wish colin powell had been more assertive about going -- >> he says president bush asked for plan on going to war with iraq just two weeks after the 9/11 attack, even before the invasion of afghanistan. >> why wouldn't you ask for a plan? of course you would. two weeks after 9/11, as you would want a plan for all of our enemies as a contingency. there was not an alliance between al qaeda and iraq, but you did not know that at the beginning and he wanted a contingency if there were. you do not attack and administration over having a contingency plans secret i would argue that it was pretty wide national consensus in favor of it. it was not one man who took america into war -- >> ooh -- >> it passed the congress. >> every presidential candidate
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except barack obama, among the democrats, had supported the resolution to go to war -- >> barack obama was the nominee of the democratic party largely on the strength of having opposed -- >> three years later, three years later. >> at the time. >> a plurality of democratic senators in the united states senate opposed going to war -- >> led by ted kennedy. >> and a bunch of others. charles is right about the presidential candidates. what donald rumsfeld does not address in this book is the question posed to him by a tennessee national guardsmen, who confronted the secretary of state as a lowly enlisted man in iraq -- secretary of defense -- why is it, mr. rumsfeld, that we have to go around scrap piles and scrounge to armor our
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vehicles and personnel carriers just to protect ourselves against ied's? rumsfeld at dismissively said, "you go to war with the army you have." he went to war with the army he had. if there was a plan two weeks after the attack on the twin towers and united states, the idea of going to war with an adequate troops, which we did do, -- with inadequate troops, which we did do, and unarmored vehicles is unacceptable and demands explanation. >> the reason you have a national security council and national security staff is to plan. one thing that comes up again and again and again and has just been confirmed with a resounding thud by rumsfeld is that there was absolutely no planning about what we would do after we invaded. there was none. that is not a small thing. that is an almost unbelievable breach. the responsibility lies, i
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think, primarily, obviously, with bush, but also his national security advisers. condoleezza rice was just nowhere to be found. maybe that is because rumsfeld and cheney undermined her. but boy, talk about a process not working. >> that still doesn't address the question of going to war against iraq when the attack came from afghanistan. at least at this end of the table, we did not think that was a good idea at -- >> i remember that. >> as odious as saddam hussein was, he actually kept al qaeda out, was a check on al qaeda. he had been awful to his own people, but in an national and strategic sense, our national security interests at that point, he was probably good for us. >> the only functioning democracy in the middle east today is iraq. you could argue that the price we paid was too high.
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i would say, was the price we paid in korea to live for half a peninsula? it is a question that will always haunt cost, but the results are positive. >> i thought israel was a functioning democracy in the middle east. >> yes, it is. it has been an interesting winter so far. >> i have been inside with my neighbor for almost seven hours. >> that the gentlemen at spent a night in his truck on a chicago's vitter drive with other motorists. if global warming is that problem, why are we having such a tough winter? al gore told gail collins of "the new york times" that there is 4% more water vapor in the air now and then in the 1970's and it returns to earth as heavy rain and snow. >> if godzilla appeared this afternoon, al gore would say it is a global warming. [laughter] -- look - -- it is a religion, and in
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religion, are bidding is explicable -- everything is explicable. in science, you can deny it or falsified with evidence. find me at a single piece of evidence that al gore would admit -- >> al gore is a red herring here. there are scientists asking interesting questions about the jet stream, this to fightcone around the north pole. that has broken down with the global warming. there is a scientific theory, still, that the jet stream has broken down and causing this crazy whether. >> all i know is i hate it. i want spring now. >> my question was about greenhouse gases. there was some movement in congress this week to prevent the epa from regulating greenhouse gases.
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>> there is a movement in congress to get the united states government to regulate nothing. there is strong support for it in this congress. >> strong support 48 here -- for it here. >> the reality on this is, charles lane of "the washington post" deserves credit for it. one of the answers to our problem is the electric car. when people are stuck in traffic for hours, the electric car is not the answer. >> see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to vo:geico, committed to providing service to
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its auto insurance customers for over 70 years. more information on auto insurance at or 1-800-947-auto any time of the day or night.
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